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Two new films at Automata!


In Geiser’s Ghost Algebra,  a solitary figure navigates a landscape of constructed nature and broken bones.  She peers through a decaying aperture, waiting and watching: the fragility of the body is exposed for what it is: ephemeral, liquid, a battlefield of nervous dreams. Using found and natural objects, rephotographed video, medical illustrations, and other collage elements, Ghost Algebra suggests one of the original meanings of the word “algebra”: the science of restoring what is missing, the reunion of broken parts.


Simpson’s Inconsolable Objects is a short animated film exploring states of agitation and unrest. Drawing on various source material, particularly comic book action sequences the film creates an abstracted experience of unease.



The June 17, 2106 Opening Reception at Automata’s Chinatown space featured projections by filmmakers Jodie Mack, Benjamin Popp and Sabrina Schmid, whose films are currently playing in the San Francisco Peephole Cinema, which is curated by Sarah Klein.

Single Vision

Nearly two hundred years before the invention of cinema, the peepshow, raree show, or boîte optique—a closed box with at least one peephole revealing a hidden “view”—was a form of both visual entertainment and optical experimentation. Peephole Cinema revives this unique viewing apparatus, along with the attendant tensions it produces between public and private, authorized viewing and voyeurism, and seeing and being seen, for those strolling Chung King Road. The films featured, Oculus Solus by Allison de Fren and One Eye by Laurie O’Brien, are reflexive meditations on the singular vision produced by the act of seeing with one eye. The peephole will be open and available to the public 24/7 for the next two months.  


Oculus Solus (2014) A balletic reflection on the instrumentality of vision, composed for one eye from educational, industrial, and avant-garde films of the 1920s-1950s.

Allison de Fren is a media maker and scholar with a predilection for media archaeologies and performative objects. Her work often explores the intersection of technology and gender. She is an Assistant Professor of Media Arts & Culture in the Art History & Visual Arts Department at Occidental College in Los Angeles.

oculus solus

One Eye (2014)  The implications of looking “in” and not “out” of a peephole.  An interior exploration of surveillance, looking, and a lost eye with images from the Soibelman Collection and Magic Lantern slides from Visual Studies Workshop.

Laurie O’Brien is an artist working in video, installation, animation, and performance.  Her work often focuses on the blurring of fact and fiction.  A metaphor that continues to influence her work, the puppet, finds expression in unexpected forms with links to technology, identity, duplicity and deception.  She is an Assistant Professor of Visual Media in the Photography Department at RIT in Rochester, NY.